All you need to know about the elections
On Friday September 22nd, the result for First Year and Arts Representative positions on the Students’ Union Council were finalized. Sarah Elliot won First Year Representative with 65 votes and Arts Councilor Lucas Middleton won with 66 votes, they will be responsible for representing their respective constituencies and having their voices heard among the Students’ Union.
The Union is responsible for organizing these elections and this year implemented a new voting system, known as a ranked ballot. It allows you to rank your votes from first place to last place, which, President Annie Sirois stated in her video announcement, provides “students with the largest say in who their elected councilor will be."
When asking Sirois her opinion on how it went, she stated “I believe the ranked ballot system itself was extremely successful." Explaining that “neither the Arts nor First Year representative received majority of votes in the first round." This means that under the normal voting system they would have been elected with less than 50% of voter support. In this case the ranked ballot system assured that the candidates would be voted in with more than 50% of the electoral support.
Although Sirois believed the ranked ballot system worked the exact way she expected, when looking at it from a user friendly standpoint she expressed her dissatisfaction towards it. Explaining “we made the switch to a third party provider this year for transparency purposes," however, this meant that students didn't know their passwords or usernames in this software and the flaws could not be addressed due to possible interference in the election.
In order to sign into the program, a voter had to input their StFX email and ID, however this was not advertised clearly within the system, causing confusion and a lower turnout on election day. When commenting on lack of votes, Sirois stated “I was extremely disappointed with the low voter turnout and the lack of communication within that department on the day of the election."
Along the lines of student engagement, Arts Representative Lucas Middleton felt the ranked ballot system was successful but agreed with the previous comments Sirois mentioned above about low turnout. When asked about the length of time the election went on for - which was only 5 days - he believed it was adequate, as his campaign, which was solely online, was all the time he required in order to reach the audience he needed.
Turning the conversation to the future, Middleton made it clear that the audience he wants to put to the front of his list are the smaller Arts programs within StFX. As a English major he understands what it means to be an underrepresented group and wants to change the idea of what an Arts degree means. Explaining “my goal in this position is to represent the smaller faculties in arts, I am majoring in English and involved in most faculties, I want to bring the value of a bachelor of arts in perspective, and show what you can do with it, other than say a teacher or writer, and I want to do that through highlighting success stories from alumni."
As a university with such a strong alumni presence it seems as though this strategy is sure to interest current and future students looking for their place at StFX. Middleton is currently located on the 4th floor room 414 in the Students Union Building if students would like to discuss any of his plans or make suggestions in order to shape a stronger Arts community throughout StFX.